Denmark polishes off Poland
Five different scorers gets first win
With professional pride at stake, Denmark closed off a disappointing week with grabbing their first win at the Olympic qualification tournament in Minsk.
Poland was downed 5-2 with Nicklas Jensen grabbing three helpers, while Philip Larsen tallied a goal and an assist with Frans Nielsen recording 0+2. Sebastian Dahm got a start in net and recorded 16 saves.
But in the wake of Denmark's final day 5-2 win, more questions than answers are set to linger on regarding an abject overall performance from a Danish roster who arrived to Minsk as clear favourites to go to PyeongChang 2018.
"There is nothing to be happy about," said Denmark's Morten Madsen. "We did not play as a team or as we should play."
"It has been a tough few days for us and if there is anything to take out from this final game is that we were able to bounce back mentally and win it," he continued.
Poland, who finished the tournament without a win, battled hard until the end. Kamil Kalinowski and Maciej Urbanowicz got on the scoresheet for Poland, while Przemyslaw Odrobny was back in net and recorded 21 saves.
"We play a good team and we are improving," said Torbjorn Johansson, Poland's assistant coach following today's defeat. "At the end we are not even close, but I am proud of our team as they are really trying to do their best, but we don't have the quality to play 60 minutes against Denmark."
Denmark's first-choice goaltender Frederik Andersen who suffered an upper-body injury late in the their second game against Slovenia was out of contention for this dead rubber of an encounter. Also missing for Denmark were Peter Regin carrying a minor knock and Nichlas Hardt due to illness.
Frederik Storm opened the scoring at 3:07 as his wrister from the right point sneaked past Odrobny in Poland's net.
Poland who found a burst of form towards the end of the first period, equalised after Kalinowski collected a Michael Cichy's backhand pass to see his effort deflect past Dahm from the right point after 13:10.
Failing to covert while on the powerplay at the start of the middle frame, Poland got punished as the lively Nicklas Jensen rounded Odrobny's cage and backhanded it to Bodker who one-timed in home for Denmark to go back in front at 25:53.
With just over five minutes left of the middle frame Denmark had scored once again. Urbanowicz was serving a tripping call when Larsen low wrister from the blueline found its way to the back of the net with traffic in front of Odrobny for 3-1.
"They are a really skilled team," said Poland's Cichy. "You cannot give them an inch, they got a ton of skill there and always move around the net."
Such skills were once again on show early in the final period. Poland's defensive rearguard was caught asleep when Oliver Bjorkstrand picked up an unmarked Nikolaj Ehlers who had ample time to score Denmark's fourth at 42:02.
Urbanowicz added a consolation midway through the final stanza for Poland after Kalinowski had snapped the puck off Markus Lauridsen, before Denmark's Madsen rounded off the scoring to 5-2 following a Nicklas Jensen pass behind Odrobny's net at 52:24.